You know, I’ve had a lot of people say over the past couple of years, “why don’t you make your kids sleep in their own beds instead of with you?” Well, as cramped as our small house is, not everyone has a bed of their own right now (Emily does, Nate doesn’t). But this past week it really hit home that having them share my king size bed by choice is a blessing.
Emily is at that age where she could be a snotty tween, anxious to be free from acknowledging her mom. Instead, she freely holds my hand in public and comes up to me to get big hugs from me and the past couple of nights, she hasn’t been able to get to sleep without asking to snuggle with me (which is a lot easier when Nate is not between us – LOL!) She is at a point where she needs reassurance from her mommy and love and acceptance. She is so wise beyond her years in many ways, but still is a sensitive, emotional child at heart. I know that all too soon those days will go by the wayside, most likely, so I cherish each request for a snuggle, each body ache from having her or Nate wrapped around me/draped over me as they sleep. It’s one part of this mommy’s way of giving them that unconditional love that every child needs.
Preemie babies thrive with touch and holding. It’s been scientifically documented that touch relieves pain and stress and preemies who receive frequent touch grow faster and have less health/medical issues. Touch is fundamental to brain growth and function in babies, so why wouldn’t it have the same stress/pain relieving effects on older children and adults? You know it does. How many times has the hug of a loved one helped you to feel better when your heart is hurting or your soul unsettled? With me, it’s like something falls into place. It is a balm to the pain, a calm to the unrest. At least that’s what I’ve found.
With Em last week and this week, she has struggled with the time change and has trouble finding sleep...until she asks me to snuggle with her. She’s out in less than 10 minutes. It is calming and soothing to be held, and I know that for my brainy, quirky, unique, brilliant babygirl, it helps to center her, feeds her need for unconditional acceptance and quiets her often chaotic thoughts. And for my whirling dervish that is Nate, it calms his effusive exuberance when it’s time to sleep and soothes his raging tempers; it takes away his pain. So confident is his belief that mommy’s kiss can cure anything, when he had that raging ear infection with blisters on his eardrum, his first thought was to try and get me to “tiss” it and make it stop hurting. Before any Band-Aid or ice-cube, it’s mommy’s hug and kiss he wants first to take the worst of the pain away.
So be free with your hugs, especially to your children. Even if they say they don’t want one, do it anyway. That one, simple touch, might just help cross a bridge you didn’t know was there. It lets them know that you care. And during their growing up years, that shapes so much of how they view the world. Make it a positive one.